For more than three decades, Nicole Tolhurst has worked as a registered nurse and infection control practitioner to keep the people of western Sydney safe from infectious diseases.
During this time she’s worked in Westmead Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit, orthopaedics, operating theatres, recovery ward and Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals in the IPAC team.
As an Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) clinical nurse consultant at Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals, Nicole has been instrumental in training and preparing staff in the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016.
Nicole farewelled Western Sydney Local Health District this week for a role at the Clinical Excellence Commission where she has been appointed as the program lead for the Healthcare Associated infection team.
“I’m sad to be leaving Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals and will miss the dedicated IPAC team who I’ve worked with for more than three years,” Nicole said.
“To all the other amazing, dedicated staff, you are committed to doing your best regardless of the challenges you face and I thank you for your friendship and support.”
In her new role, Nicole will provide safety and quality improvements for patients across NSW.
Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals general manager Ned Katrib commended Nicole for her hard work and dedication with keeping patients and staff safe and well-informed.
“I wish Nicole all the best in her new role with the CEC and thank her for her ongoing commitment and care she has provided to the staff and communities of western Sydney,” Ned said.
“She was such a caring influence to have in your team particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Nicole credits her success to the collaboration between the highly-skilled IPAC team who consist of Lesly Mathew, Carolyn Lambeth and Kirsten Mangan.
“As a team we have all worked tirelessly to manage people within the hospital and the local community who are suspected or confirmed with COVID-19,” she said.
“With the support from the IPAC team, general services, educators, infectious disease, executive and managers, we have concentrated on remaining calm, staying positive and focusing on the basic principles of hand hygiene and correct use of PPE.
“As this pandemic continues to evolve my main goal is to keep staff, patients and visitors safe with up-to-date information and evidence.
“To all my colleagues, please stay safe and continue to wash your hands regularly!”
Good luck Nicole with your new challenges – we will miss you and thank you for all you have done for western Sydney.